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A share house is a model of household in which a group of usually unrelated people reside together. The term generally applies to people living together in rental properties rather than in properties in which any resident is an owner occupier. The term is rare or unknown in American English.
Share housing is an increasingly popular household model for people in developed and developing countries as a result of a variety of economic and social changes such as the declining affordability of home ownership and delayed and decreasing marriage rates. Despite this rise, share housing is little researched.
Formation and composition
A share house is often formed when a group of people move into a rental property, with one or more of them having applied to rent the property through a real estate agent, being accepted and having signed a lease.
People who live together in a share house are called "housemates", "flatmates", or "roommates".
Share house residents are typically unrelated to each other in that they generally come from different families, although they may be composed of some siblings and sometimes single parents and their children. Perhaps because of the social cohesion required for their formation, share houses will often be composed of members of the same peer group. For example, university students who have relocated to a new area to commence a course of study often need to form a share house. Share housing often occurs in the 18-35 age bracket - during a life stage between leaving home and having children. Share house residents may have pre-existing friendships or other interpersonal relationships or they may form new relationships whilst living together.
Challenges and complications
Some of the challenges that come with share housing may include advertising for, interviewing and choosing potential housemates; sharing communal household goods, rent (often this may be determined by the size or position of respective bedrooms); sharing household bills and grocery costs; and sharing housework, cleaning, and cooking responsibilities. Conflicts may arise if, for example, residents have different standards of cleanliness, different diets, or different hours of employment or study. Guests and partners may also begin to board frequently, which can raise complications pertaining to utility expenses, additional rent and further possible cleaning duties. Often when these responsibilities go untended, friction may result between co-tenants.